So Long as France Continues to Appease Hizballah, It Won’t Stabilize Lebanon

Sept. 17 2020

On September 1, the French president Emmanuel Macron visited Lebanon for the second time since the August 4 explosion at the Beirut port. He did so—in keeping with his country’s longstanding involvement in Lebanese affairs—to help restore stability in Lebanon and to assist it in recovering from the catastrophe. But these efforts will fail, writes Tsilla Herscho, until Macron takes a harder line against the Iran-backed terrorist group Hizballah and its efforts to transform the Levantine nation into a launching pad for attacks on Israel:

President Macron is friendlier toward Israel than were his predecessors. [Yet] Macron has continued France’s tradition of appeasing Hizballah. For instance, following the discovery in December 2018 and January 2019 of six terrorist attack tunnels built by Hezbollah that reached deep into Israel’s northern territory, . . . France condemned the digging of the tunnels and recognized it as a violation [of a UN resolution], but maintained its traditional posture as an “impartial mediator” and yet again called for Israeli restraint.

France’s policy of appeasement . . . has the unfortunate result of encouraging rather than discouraging Hizballah to pursue terrorist activities against Israel. This undermines any chance of achieving stability for Lebanon, and it works to the advantage of Hizballah’s Iranian patron.

Another central problem with France’s policy toward Hizballah is its continued opposition to the designation of Hizballah’s political wing as a terrorist organization. France has so far prevented EU member states’ attempts to make this designation and impose sanctions accordingly, as the EU has done with Hizballah’s military wing. . . . Moreover, France continues to promote the unrealistic illusion that Hizballah will at some point be disarmed, either by Lebanon’s army or by its political institutions. This mission is impossible to accomplish, as both are completely controlled by Hizballah.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Emmanuel Macron, Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

Salman Rushdie and the Western Apologists for Those Who Wish Him Dead

Aug. 17 2022

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder and supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, issued a fatwa (religious ruling) in 1989 calling for believers to murder the novelist Salman Rushdie due to the content of his novel, The Satanic Verses. Over the years, two of the book’s translators have been stabbed—one fatally—and numerous others have been injured or killed in attempts to follow the ayatollah’s writ. Last week, an American Shiite Muslim came closer than his many predecessors to killing Rushdie, stabbing him multiple times and leaving him in critical condition. Graeme Wood comments on those intellectuals in the West who have exuded sympathy for the stabbers:

In 1989, the reaction to the fatwa was split three ways: some supported it; some opposed it; and some opposed it, to be sure, but still wanted everyone to know how bad Rushdie and his novel were. This last faction, Team To Be Sure, took the West to task for elevating this troublesome man and his insulting book, whose devilry could have been averted had others been more attuned to the sensibilities of the offended.

The fumes are still rising off of this last group. The former president Jimmy Carter was, at the time of the original fatwa, the most prominent American to suggest that the crime of murder should be balanced against Rushdie’s crime of blasphemy. The ayatollah’s death sentence “caused writers and public officials in Western nations to become almost exclusively preoccupied with the author’s rights,” Carter wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times. Well, yes. Carter did not only say that many Muslims were offended and wished violence on Rushdie; that was simply a matter of fact, reported frequently in the news pages. He took to the op-ed page to add his view that these fanatics had a point. “While Rushdie’s First Amendment freedoms are important,” he wrote, “we have tended to promote him and his book with little acknowledgment that it is a direct insult to those millions of Moslems whose sacred beliefs have been violated.” Never mind that millions of Muslims take no offense at all, and are insulted by the implication that they should.

Over the past two decades, our culture has been Carterized. We have conceded moral authority to howling mobs, and the louder the howls, the more we have agreed that the howls were worth heeding. The novelist Hanif Kureishi has said that “nobody would have the [courage]” to write The Satanic Verses today. More precisely, nobody would publish it, because sensitivity readers would notice the theological delicacy of the book’s title and plot. The ayatollahs have trained them well, and social-media disasters of recent years have reinforced the lesson: don’t publish books that get you criticized, either by semiliterate fanatics on the other side of the world or by semiliterate fanatics on this one.

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Create a free account to continue reading

Welcome to Mosaic

Create a free account to continue reading and you'll get two months of unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Register

Read more at Atlantic

More about: Ayatollah Khomeini, Freedom of Speech, Iran, Islamism, Jimmy Carter